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EITC Makes Day School Scholarships Less Taxing

June 14, 2012
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Your business and Philadelphia-area Jewish day schools and Jewish early learning center programs may benefit from a state program that offers a tax credit to companies who invest in school scholarships. The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) enables qualifying businesses to target up to $300,000 of Pennsylvania state tax dollars directly to schools supported by Federation's Foundation for Jewish Day Schools of Greater Philadelphia.
EITC, enacted in 2001, may be a viable alternative for philanthropic-minded businesses who pay one of the following: the Corporate Net Income Tax; Capital Stock Franchise Tax; Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax; Title Insurance Companies Shares Tax; Insurance Premiums Tax; or the Mutual Thrift Institution Tax. Owners of sub-chapter S corporations and other small and medium-sized businesses can also pass-through the tax credits to their personal income tax returns. Depending on which type of school you support and the number of years you participate, you can reduce your tax liability by 75 percent to 100 percent of your contribution.
 
According to Brian Mono, director of Federation's Center for Jewish Life and Learning, the program has provided invaluable assistance to low- to moderate-income families who want to provide their children with a quality Jewish day school or preschool education. In the first decade of the EITC Jewish Day School Scholarship Program, the Foundation has awarded more than $6 million in needs-based scholarships to families in the Greater Philadelphia area, including more than $1,189,000 to more than 370 day school students for the 2011-2012 school year.
 
In the first seven years of the EITC Jewish Early Learning Program, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million in needs-based scholarships to families in the Greater Philadelphia area, including more than $178,000 to more than 95 students in 3- and 4-year old programs for the 2011-2012 school year.
 
Rabbi Gary Charlestein, CEO of Premiere Products Company, a family-owned and operated manufacturer and distributor of quality health care products to the medical and dental industries, is a firm believer in Jewish day schools. "These schools are a wonderful resource for building a strong Jewish identity and grooming the next generation of Jewish leaders," he said, emphasizing that the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community supports several high caliber institutions.
 
Charlestein, who serves as chair of the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools, expressed his gratitude to Commonwealth legislative leaders for creating a program that "allows businesses like ours to contribute tax dollars to programs that benefit both the Commonwealth and the Jewish community."
 
Geoffrey Duffine, owner of Duff Supply Company, also is enthusiastic about his company's participation in EITC. "It allows us to support programs that directly benefit our community, rather than going through the state treasury and the political process," he said. Duffine supports Tiferet Beth Israel and the Klein JCC through the Pre-K EITC program.
 
To Duffine, EITC represents a win-win situation. "Our participation allows us to 'compound' our overall charitable giving -- realizing significant tax benefits while supporting important programs and institutions that we believe in," he said.
 
Caroline Unger, Federation's EITC Development Associate, advises interested business owners to call their financial advisers immediately to discuss whether this program is viable for them. Unger explains that EITCs will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis on Monday, July 2. Late applications are sometimes denied due to lack of funds.
 
Unger is ready to assist interested businesses in completing these applications. For more information, call 215-832-0525 or email: cunger@jfgp.org.

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